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Water Sensitive SA Program Manager wins coveted water professional award

June 13, 2019


Leading Australian water industry companies have been recognised for excellence in technology and expertise at the Water Industry Alliance’s 2019 Smart Water Awards. In its 16th year, the Awards recognise and celebrate Alliance members for their leading-edge expertise and innovation.

Mellissa Bradley, Program Manager at Water Sensitive SA, has been awarded the Leadership Award for her more than 25 years of contribution to the water industry through her roles encompassing environmental management; planning and natural resources management policy and legislation; civil design; and construction management for stormwater and wastewater re-use schemes.

Over the past five years Mellissa has built the Water Sensitive SA program from an aspirational vision to a comprehensive capacity building program that supports government and industry with the knowledge and tools to deliver best practice water sensitive urban design (WSUD). "For progressive Councils and developers in South Australia, water sensitive urban design isn’t the sole domain of high-profile showcase projects, it represents standard operating procedures," Mellissa said. "This is largely achieved through rethinking asset renewal programs. Moving away from a like-for-like approach to asset management to a 'like-for-greener' or 'like-for-fit-for-purpose' means that traditional grey assets work harder for a similar level of investment, providing streets and public spaces that contribute to community climate resilience, amenity and ecosystem services."

Mellissa works closely with research institutions with a focus on urban water management, including the Goyder Institute for Water Research. Her association with the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities, and its predecessors Cities as Water Supply Catchments since 2009, initially as an industry partner and now as Regional Manager for South Australia, a role she has held for the past 2 years, has helped to shape the research program to meet the needs of South Australia. "Innovators in water sensitive urban design (WSUD) in the South Australian local government and development sectors, have strong links to research organisations that provide them with the evidence base to de-risk the application of new technologies and design techniques," Mellissa explained. "Each has an organisational culture that fosters creativity and a cross disciplinary approach to project planning and design that paves the way for truly integrated design."

Her broad experience has enabled Mellissa to translate this research into a form suitable for use by decision makers, policy writers and practitioners, providing the evidence base for urban greening and water sensitive cities transitions. "It is a privilege to share best practice WSUD knowledge and experiences from local and interstate practitioners to empower the next wave of WSUD champions," Mellissa said.

Mellissa currently chairs the national industry stakeholder steering committee for the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities’ Water Sensitive outcomes for infill developments research program.

Mellissa has worked closely with the Department of Planning, Transportation and Infrastructure to support the integration of better green infrastructure and water sensitive urban design policy in the current planning reform process.

Her work with government and industry supports the cultural shift and technical know-how needed to mainstream water sensitive urban design practice for the creation of cooler, greener communities.

Thank you to Award Naming Sponsor:

Australian Water Association

Sponsor of the Leadership Award